New York Times Shakes Up Children’s Best Seller Lists

According to the Publisher’s Weekly twitter feed and an announcement sent from the New York Times to all publishers, some MAJOR changes to the New York Times Best Seller List for Children’s Books were announced earlier today. Previously, the NYT broke down Children’s books into 4 lists: Picture Books, Chapter Books, Paperback Books and Series (comprised of series that have a minimum of 3 books released in the marketplace). According to the announcement, starting with this week’s list, the changes will do the following:

1) Break down the Children’s Chapter Book list, formerly comprised of hardcover books in both the Young Adult (books for ages 12 and up) and Middle Grade (books for ages 8-12) genres, into two lists: A separate Young Adult list and Middle Grade list.

2) Add FIVE more spots to both the new YA list and the new MG list, bringing the total up to 15 books (there are currently 10).

3) Combine eBook sales and all print sales (paperback and hardcover) for both of the new lists, and for the existing series list.  Previously eBook sales are not considered in any of the Children’s lists.

4) Remove the former Paperback list.

So, what does this mean? Well, if you look at last week’s Children’s Chapter Books list (which includes both Middle Grade and Young Adult hardcover books) 8 of the 10 total spots were held by Middle Grade titles. With a new dedicated Young Adult list, this would essentially open all of those spots plus the additional 5 new spots to Young Adult books, giving YA a more prominent representation on one of the most prominent best seller lists in the country.

Personally, I think this is an amazing change and a definite plus for Young Adult authors, myself included. Particularly considering my new YA book, UNREMEMBERED (the first in a sci-fi/suspense trilogy), is releasing in less than 3 months.  The popularity of both Young Adult and Middle Grade genres is increasing exponentially, as are the number of books published in these genres each year. Every time I walk into my local bookstore it seems the YA section has grown or been moved to accommodate all the new titles. I think it’s both fitting and appropriate that the New York Times Best Seller list reflect the growth of these two genres by dividing them into their own separate lists. Not only does it provide a more “apples to apples” comparison for authors and publishers but it also gives more authors a chance to achieve the prestigious accolade of “hitting the New York Times Best Seller list.”

The inclusion of eBooks is also an important change that appropriately reflects the current book marketplace. As prices continue to come down on e-readers, more and more Young Adult books are being purchased and read in electronic format.  Even middle school and high school libraries are purchasing e-readers and preloading them with popular Young Adult and Middle Grade titles to lend out to students, making the eBook experience more accessible and familiar to young readers. Accounting for eBook sales in the Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Series best seller lists is a clear indication that the New York Times recognizes the significant percentage of total book sales that eBooks now represent.

I’m excited about the upcoming changes and the positive impact on the children’s book market.  What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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